Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

What the NYPD Thinks of Free Speech

What do you get for putting up 100 posters in high-trafficked areas of New York City, that essentially say the NYPD uses drones to stop crime, in an obvious slam of the Obama administration's domestic drone program, as well as a criticism of the "1984" qualities that big cities, inexorably, keep sliding toward?

If your guess was not much, or even better, 56 felony counts of possession of a fraudulent instrument, then you win the pony.  Because it's not the crime that matters, it's who you piss off in the process, that matters.  Just another example of people with no sense of humor - and definitely, based on the charges, no sense of irony.  Frankly, considering the history of our country, this guy should get an award for cleverness, and perhaps a job with an ad agency.  If he infringed on someone else's ads, there may be a cost that should be paid to that party.  But the charges sound to me to be a bit...what's that word?  It rhymes with delicious, but it's almost like the opposite of delicious.  Oh well, it will come to me eventually.  Welcome to the free world, circa 2013, where free speech is tolerated only if approved by your government.  And I think we can rest comfortably, knowing that the Queen Mother and the Crown are looking after us all.

Oh, you wanted a picture of the poster?  Demanding little gutter snipes, aren't you?  Here you go:


Fighting the Good Fight

I generally restrict my posts to original content, but this was a little too good to pass up, so I'm linking it here.

Ever get one of those emails from a concerned reverend, high government official, embassy worker, etc., located in some third-world country, offering to send you USD50MILLION or something similar, if you can just send a few thousand dollars to pay for the legal work of getting that money out of the country and into your hot little hands?  Notwithstanding the fact that such emails, generally, test the bounds of human logic, there's a reason they proliferated, and still exist to this day - to some degree, they work.  They may work on only .001% of those to whom they are sent, but that's all it takes for it to be worth it, when it costs nothing to send an email.  Despite my belief that we humans already do way too much to thwart natural selection within our own species, it's inherently inhumane to feel no compassion for people who fall for such ploys, at the hands of criminal parasites.

One man and his friends (aka scambaiters) decided to fight back (screen shot):

In many cases, they've convinced the criminals on the other end to fly thousands of miles, in the belief that they will meet our crusaders in person to receive requested funds.  Much to their chagrin, it's all just a ploy.  Oddly, the criminal element, just like many people in general, seems to lack a well developed sense of humor - or irony.  

Regardless, you can check out each of their "projects" and trace the exchanges from start to finish.  They include maps, the entire email trail, and other notes.  



Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Papers, Please!" (Aaron Swartz, RIP)

For those concerned about Eastern European crime syndicates uploading info from their computers, or who've watched a meltdown caused by an e-mail attachment or clicking a bad link, take heart.  Your government doesn't care, and they won't do anything to help you, though they may be willing to sell you the information they have in their files from spying on you.  The problem isn't real criminals, as you might think, but "High-Tech Terrorists" like WikiLeaks, whose real crime is revealing things that the government doesn't want us to know.

In that spirit, we get this kind of mindless, handwringing rhetoric and misdirection, as CISPA winds its way through Congress, aiming to take away our civil liberties:

Do people really believe this drivel?  The lady doth protest too much, methinks.  It's a sad commentary, that politicians have managed to combine two words they most fear, yet know the least about.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened on the Not-So-Hasty Retreat from the Subprime Meltdown

Finally, some dinner theatre around this place.  Master, servant, pimp, whore?  I'm not sure, but I do think it's funny when you are accused of being one of the foregoing, and your response is to issue a lengthy press release trying to absolve yourself on several theories, including these:  (1) Technically, legally, given the environment and the players, and our First Amendment rights, we really didn't do anything wrong (that's a paraphrase, but I'm pretty sure they didn't use the words ethically or morally); (2) Hey, other people did it, too, but you're only picking on us.

Uh, okay.  Let me help you, since you seem to be unclear on the concept:

"Hey, man, we might be bad, but look what we got paid.  It's not like we were working for Heidi Fleiss; at these rates we're just common streetwalkers!  Seriously, when these banks pay us for a rating, scratch that, pay us to independently review an issuance and give a completely impartial, non-biased third-party opinion from the best of the brightest minds from only Ivy League schools, we're getting paid for the equivalent of a hummer, while offering full service and party favors, which is simply unfair. You can hardly visit the Hamptons with that kind of pay, let alone buy a place."

See, that sort of appeals to the DOJ's sense of fair play, that the investment banks are more evil than you, since they were the ones buying the ratings, oops I mean paying for the independent reviews.

Not really, I'm just kidding.  You're screwed.  But, hey, I'm pretty sure the folks being referenced in #2 above are in the on-deck circle right now.

Editorial Note:  Yes, that's right, the rating agencies have asserted that their ratings are protected by the First Amendment, and in most cases the courts have agreed. What they fail to mention is that this is to protect them from being sued when they either say something bad about a company, or make an unintentional mistake. I'm pretty sure wholesale fraud and lying are frowned upon and not protected, just like they are for the rest of us chumps.

Here's the source article:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

And Now, For Something Completely Different...

A poem.

Don't ask; even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you.  Okay, fine - it's Valentine's Day (hence the red), that day everyone hates or loves with a passion, that binary decision largely a result of whether the person happens to be +1 or +0 at the time.  But that's just a theory.

Maybe I just want you to get caught up with my FB friends; I tortured them with this a few months ago.  Membership has its rewards, such as torturous prose.

At least it's relatively short, so the pain can't last that long.